Magazine July 27, 2020, Issue

On George Washington

(Roman Genn )
His letters show his changing view of slavery

George Washington, father of his country, which was the first to say that men were born free and thus ought to be equal, was also the owner of slaves. So were three of the next four men to succeed him in office, who were also Virginians, and who had even fewer reservations about this than he. Back in the day, this was noted by many, Samuel Johnson among them, who wondered in London just how it happened that “the loudest yelps for liberty” from the other side of the ocean had come from the drivers of slaves. Among the Founders,

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This article appears as “George Washington” in the July 27, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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